On a recent trip to New York City a friend of mine made the comment that city officials seem to prioritize the needs of the city’s ultra-wealthy over those most reliant upon city services. In my time researching NYC’s service delivery mechanisms I’ve found this sentiment to be completely untrue.

I’ve condensed a more readable version of a deep-dive I conducted into the subject back in 2015, the full report can be found on my website.

tl;dr

Two years ago I sourced 925,391 NYC 311 service requests (Jan. 2015 — June 2015, via NYC Open Data Portal), extracted each request’s geolocation…


Love these pictures by Stephen Wilkes. If you haven’t already, definitely check him out.

Consider quantum physics — wait, stay with me — the field’s foundation of knowledge is built on understanding the universe’s largest phenomena so we can better explain the small things. I’ll let Brian Greene’s recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert explain. See 1:15–4:30 for the real important info.

Not so bad, who wouldn’t want a levitating rapid bus transit system? Here’s the gist of the conversation in case you didn’t watch the video:

  • Small things are bound by the same principles of large things
  • Actions taken by small things are fundamentally different, and yet the same…


This is the tenth, and final, post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: The City as a Platform

Times Square NYC — where the locals don’t go

Throughout this analysis I’ve established an admittedly utopian framework to move today’s cities toward the digital city of tomorrow. The shift to this urban renaissance is littered with countless roadblocks — many we’ve touched on — however, we need to address the elephant in the room.

Digital urbanists must acknowledge…


This is the ninth post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: Civic Engagement isn’t a Checkbox

Civic platform courtesy of Living Cities

As technology continues to progress our city-to-citizen relationship will continue to evolve through an age of hyper-connected virtual environments — the built environment will be shaped by the real-time information delivery through intelligent devices, cloud-based databases, and highly customized participatory crowdsourcing. …


This is the eighth post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: The City Upon a Hill

I’m not one to push politics — but science is pretty great 🤓

“The last thing we need is another 50-year old white guy showing up to city hall.”

This is a common trope about civic engagement I’ve heard from city halls across the USA; while I believe it holds no actual offense to the aging white male population, there is a clear expression of…


This is the seventh post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: Your ‘Digital Awareness’ Is Worthless

Boston, Massachusetts

First stated by John Winthrop at the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the “City Upon a Hill” mantra has driven the City of Boston to new heights in technological and urban innovation. With some of the world’s greatest universities (Harvard, MIT, Boston University, etc.) within the city’s limits, and a periphery…


This is the sixth post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: Hybrid Placemaking in the City

Yeah, it might be a little bit of an “aggressive” title — here’s the thing, if you don’t understand the stakeholders who control your digital initiatives, then it simply doesn’t matter how clear your vision is or how great your product might be. In my travels I’ve seen too many civic technology…


This is the fifth post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: Social Networks, Who Cares?

History has often ascribed the activity of a city to be that of a living organism; a place where the roads, parks, and squares serve as arteries for citizens to connect and co-create. …


This is the fourth post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: Scaling Information within Social Networks

tl;dr

We observe social networks because they are shiny and new, we join them because someone we know advocates us to. We post to preserve as an outlet of creative identity archival, seeking to build upon our interests, or because we feel we must (#addicted).

Social media platforms can forecast our entire involvement…


This is the third post in a series of excerpts from my graduate research at Cornell University; each has been adapted for the purposes of this format. To read the full report, in all its technical glory, please visit my website.

Previous Topic: Principles of Social Networking Theory

Yes, this is a thing (courtesy of www.cattime.com)

Have you ever wondered why that cat meme went viral instead of your agency’s “critical” policy initiative? You aren’t alone. In fact one of the single fastest growing research directives in social networking is predicting what, how, and why something goes viral. Commonly known as cascade modeling, it more-or-less describes the action…

Brian Rollison

digital citizen

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